When we bought our house, an early 1940’s Colonial, there was a lot of work to be done on it before we could move in. We started on the upgrades while it was still cold outside, the spring thaw not yet arrived.
We’d work well into the night many times, and more than a few weekends. One weekend, while I stripped old lead paint off of the bookshelves in the living room, my husband reminded me it was closing in on lunchtime. He offered to go get sandwiches, and I went about cleaning the spiders from the windows in the living room while he was out.
A few minutes after my husband left, I felt as if I was being watched. The house was quiet, and I was alone. As I continued to clean the windows, the feeling became even stronger, until out of the corner of my eye I saw the dark shape of a man standing in the doorway leading to the dining room. I felt my skin prickle with gooseflesh, but told myself it must be my husband returned with lunch. I asked the man in the dining room to get me a soda from the fridge, but it continued to stand there, watching.
At last I turned to face it, but it was gone.
As the renovations continued, more strange things began happening. Again, I was in the living room area cleaning, and I heard a phone ring in the foyer. Without thinking about it, I went to answer it, only to realize we had not yet hooked up phone service. The sound came from an alcove in the wall, but there were no phone jacks near there. It wasn’t until later I noticed the old phone line stapled between the baseboard and the radiator, disappearing into the floor on one end, and neatly snipped and painted over.
Another day, I heard an old ding-dong style doorbell. I went to the front door, but didn’t see anyone through the leaded windows on either side, and when I opened the door, no one was there. It occurred to me then that our doorbell wasn’t a ding-dong style bell, there were two large brass chimes hanging on the wall (near where the phone had rung). I pressed the doorbell button, and the chimes sang out like churchbells, loud and not at all like the modest ding-dong that had summoned me.
The strangest and most inexplicable thing that’s happened to me in our house, however, was the thing in the yard….
It was a quiet winter night, and I woke, inexplicably terrified, shortly after we had moved into the house. I could feel it,
A Harvest of Death. Gettysburg, July 1863. Timothy O’Sullivan. (War Dept.) Exact Date Shot Unknown NARA FILE #: 165-SB-36 WAR & CONFLICT BOOK #: 253
standing outside. It was waiting for me to wake up before it made itself known. The snow on the ground had frozen into a hard crust, and the sudden sound of footsteps crunching through the front yard brought me to a sitting position. I listened as the sound moved around the house before finally coming to a stop beneath the bedroom window. I broke out in a cold sweat as I felt the thing outside the house glaring up at the window in the corner of the bedroom just before the windowshade snapped upward.
I didn’t sleep the rest of the night. The next morning I went to investigate the footsteps I had heard. They began in the middle of the yard, over 10 feet from the sidewalks, and they wrapped around the corner of the house. I followed them until I reached the place under my bedroom window…. where they stopped, with no further footprints leading away.
In the spring and for years afterward, the two holes where the thing in the yard had stood in snow-covered ivy remained gray and dead, as if the leaves had turned to ash.
The next time I came to the area, it was to stay. Being from the city and growing up in the mountains of Pennsylvania far to the north, it never occurred to me there were smaller battles surrounding Gettysburg. All we ever learned in school was the Battle of Gettysburg.
Discovering that my house was built on one of those battlefields, at the base of what was known during that battle as ‘Bunker Hill’ shocked me. When we bought the house, it was considered a ‘fixer upper’ with minor cosmetics needed to bring it from the late 1930’s/early 1940’s to the 21st century. There were plenty of unexplained things happening inside the house to keep me occupied enough that I barely noticed the man in uniform on a bike when he would ride by in the summer.
I took notice of the man because he seemed to only go by on our street around the end of June/very beginning of July. As I worked in my office, I would see him riding past on an ancient-looking bicycle, and while odd, it wasn’t completely out of place in the area. There are many re-enactors who go for authenticity and historical accuracy. As soon as the weather is warm, it’s not uncommon to see Model T cars driving around and parked at local eateries, so an old bike being ridden by a man in Civil War uniform was just as plausible.
For years, I saw this man on his bike, or other men in Civil War uniform around the neighborhood. While out in the garden one day, my neighbor across the street came out on her porch and we started talking. As we chatted, the soldier on the bike rounded the corner and rode between us. I waved at him and said hello, and he looked surprised and seemed to pedal faster.
I looked across to my neighbor and laughing, said, “Re-enactors, huh?”
She looked confused and asked what I was talking about. I pointed down the street where the soldier on the bike had gone, but he was already out of sight. I told her about the man on the bike who had just ridden between us while we talked.
She looked more confused and said she must not have been looking. I know she had been looking because we had been talking and she had been looking at me from across the street. I shrugged off the event until one day I was at a local event with another neighbor from down the block.
We started talking about the area and how it used to be a battlefield, and she brought up all the ghosts still hanging around. I asked her if she had ever seen the soldier on the bicycle and she smiled. Yes, she had seen him many times, along with the others walking the neighborhood. I told her I assumed they were re-enactors gearing up for the Gettysburg re-enactment in July.
She smiled and said, “I think we both know they’re not re-enactors.”
In 2013 there was a re-enactment of our town’s battle to commemorate the 150 year anniversary of the Gettysburg Campaign. The area where the battle took place has since become residential, so the re-enactment took place on a farm just outside of town. Since then, I have not seen the soldiers, or the soldier on his bike.
In Gettysburg and the surrounding area, it’s occasionally hard to tell the ghosts from the living. Such was the case when I first visited the battlefields. I was a teenager on a class trip, and discovered re-enactors, so when I climbed to the observation deck of the 12th and 44th New York Infantry Monument on Little Roundtop, I assumed the young man I met there to be a member of the re-enactor group. We spoke briefly, and his manner of speaking was odd and something I attributed to his playing an historic role. When he seemed surprised that the North had won the war, I chuckled. As my friends joined us on the observation deck I turned to greet them and introduce them to ‘Mr. 1863.’
When I turned, the young man was gone. Anyone who’s been to the monument knows to jump from the observation deck would be to break a limb if not worse. It’s also impossible to get back down the tiny spiral stone staircase if there are people on it. There was no one on the ground, and my friends blocked the stairs.
Afterwards we all compared our experiences. My friends had heard me talking to a man, but saw no one when they rounded the spiral of the stairs.
When I described the soldier’s uniform to a guide friend of mine (it was Union, and I got the impression he was an officer, though he seemed too young for such a rank and the uniform looked almost like an upscale band uniform), they brought me through the visitor center’s museum to see if we could locate something similar for reference. At the very end of the museum I passed a case, and when I saw it
I knew it was the same kind my soldier friend had worn. It was indeed an officer’s uniform, and I discovered the artillery officers were young and often didn’t live long.
I have returned to the monument many times since then, and I’ve never seen the soldier again.
Horror authors T. Fox Dunham & Phil Thomas present to you a special podcast anthology of collected ghost stories from one of the most haunted battlefields in the world, Pennsylvania’s ownGettysburg.Once the site of a great battle between the Confederate and Union armies and the turning point in the American Civil War, the land has suffered tragedy and death.
A Harvest of Death. Gettysburg, July 1863. Timothy O’Sullivan. (War Dept.)
Such suffering echoes through time, and these echoes can be felt today through the many supernatural sightings reported by locals and visitors. Through investigation, door-to-door at times, T. Fox Dunham and Phil Thomas have uncovered new and old stories about soldiers lost to life but not to time.
The dead demand to be remembered.
Mark Nesbitt – Gettysburg Ghost Folklore Collector
“It was a warp in time. A veil is parted.” Mark Nesbitt
On this episode, they feature an anthology of ghost stories, so many that they let the stories speak for themselves. Mark Nesbitt, Mister Ghosts of Gettysburg, joins Phil & Fox for an interview and shares a few ghost stories that he’s collected, along with a few EVPs (recorded voices of the dead). Mark talks of his two experiences he collected: the story of a Phantom Civil War Hospital and the bleeding room atThe Daniel Lady Farm. Fox also tells a story on location at Devil’s Den, based on Mark’s investigation.
“Spirit blood appeared there and vanished.” Mark Nesbitt
Blood manifested one night than vanished. Story told by Mark on EP22.
Mark also shares his theory on how the quartz in the ground records supernatural energy. Mark Nesbitt was a National Park Service Ranger/Historian for five years at Gettysburg before starting his own research and writing company. Since then he has published fourteen books including the national award-winningGhosts of Gettysburg series. His stories have been seen on The History Channel, A&E, The Discovery Channel, The Travel Channel, Unsolved Mysteries, and numerous regional television shows and heard on Coast to Coast AM, and regional radio. In 1994, he created the commercially successful Ghosts of Gettysburg Candlelight Walking Toursand in 2006, the Ghosts of Fredericksburg Tours
Here’s a YouTube video Ghosts of Gettysburg featuring Mark Nesbitt talking about his work hunting ghosts:
Author and friend Suzanne Madron, resident of Gettysburg, sends two true ghost stories she encountered: Mr. 1865 & Soldier on a Bicycle. Both stories recorded by our British folksinger, David Walton. Suzanne Madron was born in New York City and has lived up and down the east coast. Currently she resides on a house built over a Civil War battlefield in the wilds of Pennsylvania where she has been known to host some interesting Halloween parties. She has authored several novels and stories under various names.
Suzi will be singing books at Merlin’s Coffee in Hanover, PA on Saturday, October 29th from 1-3PM. Can’t make it to the signing? There will be a major release party for Devil Dog Press following the signing, from 3-5pm ET onFacebook.
Gettysburg. Famed ghost city.
GHOST STORIES DOOR TO DOOR
While investigating the city during a weekend trip, T. Fox Dunham & his wife, Allison Ledbetter took several photographs of the battlefields and shops and may have caught some paranormal activity. Allison sensed something in the corner of an Irish shop. After Allison directed him to the ceiling, Fox took several photos of the same spot and caught what appears to be a light or mist moving into the ceiling. Lighting effects couldn’t quite explain what they saw, nor could they identity an obvious source. Could be paranormal?
Lil Somethin’ Gettysburg
T. Fox Dunham also spoke to a shopkeeper, recording his story of the Ghost Lady in a Rocking Chair. A Lil Somethin’ Gettysburgis a lovely little shop with friendly owners who sell unique gifts, candles, salsas, home décor and souvenirs. In addition, he spoke to a charming local, Big Al, and got his views on spooky critters:
“I don’t bother ghosts, and they don’t bother me.” Big Al
The episode ends with a special extended version available to those downloading the podcast. We play Custer’s Lament from a band based in Portland, Oregon,Velaraasfrom their album Gilded Age. It’s a metal tribute to General Custer who fought at Gettysburg and later died at Little Big Horn. Not meant for easy listening!
Fox & Phil Go a’Ghost-Hunting!
Fox & Phil are joining Philadelphia Southeast Paranormal Investigation and Research Team, also known asSpirit of PA,for a paranormal investigation ofFort Mifflinin Philadelphia, PA. They will feature their logs and experiences on a future episode during October.
They will also be at the King of Prussia Mall at Uncanny Comics on Saturday, October 29th for Malloween.
Counting down to Halloween with many surprises yet to come!
Follow us on Twitter: @pfwhatafraidof
Send us your true ghost stories and paranormal experiences at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find Submission Guidelines on this website.
Listen for us on PARA-X RADIO at our usual time slot on Saturday nights at 6PM.
(The Host of What Are You Afraid of Horror & Paranormal Podcast)
FANGORIA gives MERCY 3.5 out 4 Skulls – “Dunham has channeled his many brushes with the other side into the exquisitely rendered, lyrical supernatural hospital thriller MERCY.“READ FULL REVIEW HERE.
Author Tim Waggoner
“Part medical horror, part supernatural suspense, MERCY is a hard-hitting fever dream of a novel. I enjoyed the hell out of it!” ~ Tim Waggoner, author of The Way of All Flesh and Eat The Night
Author David Dunwoody
“Pain and poetry flow in equal measure through these pages. Dunham’s prose strikes deep and hits all the right notes. MERCY is unforgettably vivid.” ~ David Dunwoody, author of Hell Walks and The 3 Egos
William Saint is dying of cancer. On most days death seems like a humane alternative to the treatment. Stricken with fever, William is rushed to Mercy—notorious as a place to send the sickest of the poor and uninsured to be forgotten—and finds the hospital in even worse condition than his previous visit. The grounds are unkempt, the foundation is cracking, and like the wild mushrooms sprouting from fissures of decay around it, something is growing inside the hospital. Something dark. It’s feeding on the sickness and sustaining itself on the staff, changing them. And now it wants Willie.
This was my death.
Life is an addiction.
Love is the only force that is real.
Read . . . and understand what I saw. I put it in metaphor. You do not understand what you do not